Applications

Corel goes after small business, teams with Yahoo

Software firm debuts package for smaller companies, launching its first e-mail app and adding tools from Yahoo.

Corel has released a new package of its WordPerfect Office software designed specifically for use by small businesses.

WordPerfect Office 12 - Small Business Edition, announced on Tuesday, is aimed at organizations with 50 users or fewer, a group that already represents a significant number of Corel's customers, according to the company. The package is being marketed as a low-cost alternative to Microsoft's dominant Windows desktop software. It represents Corel's first foray into e-mail, because it includes the debut of WordPerfect Mail.

Corel said the Small Business Edition will retail for $349. The company is offering a discounted version for $179 to companies already using its products, as well as to businesses with current licenses to some versions of Microsoft's Windows software. By comparison, Microsoft's Office Small Business Edition costs roughly $450.

As part of the small-business package release, Corel detailed a new relationship with Yahoo; the companies co-developed the WordPerfect e-mail client and added an Internet search toolbar to several of the office applications. Corel will market some of Yahoo's small-business offerings, including Web hosting, domain name management and online storage services.

"The market was telling us that e-mail was a missing piece, and collaborating with Yahoo was significant in adding that functionality," said Richard Carriere, general manager at Corel. "Having built-in online resources in our product was one of our major goals with this release, and Yahoo will continue to be important to other things we want to do in the future."

Corel said the WordPerfect Mail e-mail software is not Internet-based, like Yahoo's free consumer offering, but instead functions as a traditional desktop mail application. The software is based on e-mail technology acquired by Yahoo in its buyout of Stata Labs in October 2004. Carriere said that Corel had already been in talks with Stata, which made the Bloomba e-mail client when Yahoo made the acquisition.

The WordPerfect small-business offering also features a version of the Norton Internet Security 2005 package made by Symantec, including the antivirus, antispam, firewall and privacy control tools.

Carriere said that Corel will continue to focus its efforts on software designed for home users and small businesses. He pointed to the company's partnership with Dell, the world's largest PC seller, as a source of increasing the number of small-business customers for Corel. Price and ease of use continue to drive sales for Corel, helping it to make gains against Microsoft, he said.

Among other tools offered in the Small Business Edition are a task manager for navigating functions, access to online portal development resources and new versions of Corel's word processing, spreadsheet and drawing applications. The package also marks the introduction of technology acquired by Corel through its October 2004 buyout of Jasc, which makes digital-photo software.